Observing objects in movement, crawling around, feeling different textures with the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; these are some of the different activities that are implemented at Fabretto’s Early Stimulation classes in Somoto, Nicaragua.
“They play with other children, they use their imagination, they sing, they smile, but most importantly, they learn.” This is how these learning spaces are described by Catalina Pérez Figueroa, grandmother of two children who participate in the project. “Their parents work and I watch them all day. I used to think that just by feeding them and changing their diaper, that was enough. Now I know that the earlier a child or baby is stimulated, the sooner they learn things such as colors, and numbers.”
Santa Rosa is the name of the community where Dona Catalina lives with her son’s family. This community is divided into three sectors: the school sector, Quinta Willian, and Salamar. Not all houses have access to basic services. Doña Catalina lives with her husband and her son’s family. “They go to work and I stay at home with the two children. I have taken care of Jipszis since she was four months old.”
Fabretto’s Early Stimulation classes in Somoto last about two hours. Normally more than forty children from different communities attend. Little by little, mothers and fathers have been taught about how early stimulation can help their children and how these spaces strengthen their learning abilities. “For us, Fabretto’s Education Center has been very helpful. I see the change in my grandchild when she plays with other children. She is happy and I am happy to see how she is learning, “says Doña Catalina proudly.
Each exercise carried out during the stimulation sessions seeks to reinforce the cognitive area as well as gross and fine motor skills, according to the infant’s age. The youngest infants work on crawling and balance. Children that are older and can walk, work on their concentration skills and music. “Jipzis is a great girl. She was born 4 months before her estimated due date. I call her my tiny miracle because she was in a critical state. This center is our family. We are very grateful and we hope to continue being part of it “.
The Mama Margarita Center in Somoto has special ties with Father Fabretto. It was the first community where Father created a home for orphan children. In 1953, only three years after his arrival in Nicaragua, Father Fabretto began helping the most vulnerable children of this community. From 1950 to 1990, the home consisted of small humble shelters. In 1990, the year that Father Fabretto passed away, the center was inaugurated on a plot of land that Father Fabretto had left for this purpose.
“I have been a health brigade member for more than 20 years, but in these spaces, I can now strengthen my knowledge and share it with other mothers. As a mother and grandmother, I feel proud. My granddaughter is slowly learning to communicate what she wants and feels. Thankfully, she will turn 2 this coming December, and is a happy and healthy child.”